Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,531, by Araucaria

Posted by Stella on January 13th, 2012


A gentle Friday puzzle from Araucaria, in which for once ellipses between clues actually contribute to the solve. I went straight in at 5ac. and the rest was mostly plain sailing . Thanks Arry.

5. Cartesian premise making hit unhappily for writer? (1,5)
I THINK *HIT, anagrind “unhappily”, + INK, = “for writer”. The answer is the first half of Descartes’ famous phrase which is completed in 10ac.
6. Day to finish with mate (6)
FRIEND FRI(day) + END. An old idem :)
9. Ancient king keeping page in island (6)
10. Feet? On conclusion of 5 across you can use transport … (8)
IAMBUSES I AM, preceded by ‘therefore’, it concludes Descartes’ famous assertion, + BUSES.i would have thought the plural was IAMBI, but I suppose both are possible
11,21. … one of which takes 5 in maintained, wooded grassland (8)
BUSHVELD BUS + V in HELD. A new expression for me, presumably of Dutch origin; but clearly clued.
12. When to eat and rise with Muppet Show (6,4)
SUPPER TIME *{RISE MUPPET}, anagrind “show”
13. One wise group indigenous to 5 down 7, perhaps (11)
IMAGINATIVE 1 + MAGI = “wise group”, there being three of them, + NATIVE
18. Senior medico with prince and model (10)
CONSULTANT CON = “with” + SULTAN + T, the cruciverbal model.
21. See 11
- See 11
22. Turn into the wind, in which I can turn back 5 down 7 (8)
FANCIFUL <LUFF, (luff verb (luffed, luffing) 1 to steer a ship towards the wind, especially with accompanying flapping of the sails (Chambers Online)), around *I CAN, anagrind “turn”
23. Harry to wax enthusiastic about silver (6)
24. Join up to harass most of nestlings (6)
ENLIST *NESTLI(ngs) or *(n)ESTLIN(gs). Take your pick :)
25. Bringer of luck for French gentleman at race meeting (6)
MASCOT M, abbreviaton of ‘monsieur’, + ASCOT
1. Variety of horsemeat in Sussex (8)
2. Noises off in aspiration once for 9 (6)
3. Not talking about right to have a meal with percussion (8)
4. Take away from French channel (6)
DEDUCT DE (French “from”) + DUCT
5,7. Sceptical response is due with any morris dancing (2,4,6)
7. See 5
- See 5
8. In stock at pharmacy but not really necessary? (11)
14. Prize angle for those whose home is open to the public? (8)
GOLDFISH GOLD + FISH (=”angle”), + cd.
15. Boy or girl with tailless bird in test … (4,4)
VIVA VOCE VIV(ian), which can be a boy’s or a girl’s name, + AVOCE(t)
16. … which infuses me with confidence (6)
17. Stairs in the air (6)
FLIGHT Double definition, another old 6a
19. Weak king replacing island with island (6)
SICKLY SIC(i)LY, with K for I(sland)
20. Yarn for a little without time and energy (6)
THREAD TAD around HR + E

28 Responses to “Guardian 25,531, by Araucaria”

  1. Citywit says:

    Thanks, Stella. An unusual Araucaria, but with some characteristic delightful touches. 2d: “enosis” = “union, unity” – i.e., with Greece – an aspiration for (Greek) Cypriots in the 1950s.

  2. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Stella. I agree, remarkably straightforward for A. The only clue which is slightly iffy, I think, is 19 where “with” doesn’t seem quite right – obvious what he meant though.

    Citywit, Stella very thoughtfully has hyperlinked ENOSIS in her notes – just click on it.

  3. Citywit says:

    Sorry, Stella and NeilW – I keep being told “server cannot be found”… Anybody know why?

  4. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Citywit @3
    The link was faulty (an extra http:// had crept in). I have corrected this and the link now works.

  5. Mitz says:

    Thanks Stella and Araucaria. Unusually straightforward for the Master, I thought, with nothing much giving me pause. Enjoyed the two instances of solutions from one clue contributing to the next (as in 10 to 11,21 and 15 to 16) – so often when you see “…” between clues it is simply a device to make the surfaces of two clues make more sense without actually contributing much to the required solution. Also liked ‘goldfish’ for the off-kilter definition and ‘consultant’ for the smooth wordplay. Last one in for me was ‘thread’ – not sure why I struggled to see the construction as it seems pretty obvious now.

  6. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    I think, therefore I am a supporter of Araucaria……he is so 13ac.

  7. tupu says:

    Thanks Stella and Araucaria

    A good blog of an entertaining puzzle.

    19d held me up a bit but sickly seemed the better choice.

    Eventually saw 11 after 10a and initially toying with Hugh (remembered a comment about “that famous political family the Feet”).

    Liked several clues including 14d, 16d and 10a.

  8. Stella says:

    Sorry about the link, Citywit, and thanks, Gaufrid, for sorting it out. I keep forgetting to erase the first “http://” when I paste them :(

  9. Stella says:

    I’d forgotten another link I’d intended to add, to 11,21, now edited.

  10. AndrewC says:

    Thanks Stella. A mostly gentle outing, but no less charming for that. Re 10ac – iambus derives from the Greek ‘iambos’, so, tempting though it is to use the latin plural, iambi would be incorrect (just as is octopi). Iambuses is a fairly unattractive word, but it probably as close as there is to a legitimate plural of the anglicised singular.

  11. Eileen says:

    Hi Stella

    Thanks for the blog. [I'm so glad I'm not the only one to mess up links from time to time. ;-) ]

    AndrewC: ‘iambi’ is the perfectly correct Latin plural of the Latin singular ‘iambus’, derived, as you say, from the Greek ‘iambos’. There is no analogy with ‘octopus’, which is not a Latin word.
    IAMBI has appeared as a solution a number of times recently. Chambers gives both ‘iambuses’ and ‘iambi’. I was actually surprised to see the former in an Araucaria puzzle!

  12. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Stella.

    Am I alone in finding this a bit trickier than most recent Araucarias? Most fell out steadily, but the SW corner held me up for a long time, until I eventually saw GOLDFISH and realised the significance of the ellipsis at 15d.

    Lots of invention here: I liked the link between 15d and 16d, and between 5a and 10a. The last has a nice surface (not always the case with Araucaria!), as does 5,7, which reminded me of the
    anonymous remark quoted by Arnold Bax: ‘You should make a point of trying every experience once, excepting incest and folk dancing’.

  13. RCWhiting says:

    Eileen @11
    What a wonderfully smooth yet firm put-down.
    I bet you know the Latin word ‘dominatrix’.
    (if I am wrong in that last sentence, please be gentle)

  14. andy smith says:


    Yes – Chambers says ‘octopi’ is wrong! Learn something new every day. ‘octopuses’ is archaic apparently with ‘octopodes’ given as the plural (should be ‘octopudes’ but that is English for you). Will remember next time I am down at the fish market…

  15. Eileen says:

    andy smith @14

    Rather off-topic but I’m puzzled by your “(should be ‘octopudes’ but that is English for you)”.
    ‘Octopus’ comes from the Greek roots ‘okto’ (eight) and “pous” (foot). The plural of ‘pous’ is ‘podes’, hence ‘octopodes’. [cf Antipodes: 'having the feet opposite' {SOED}]

  16. Robi says:

    Enjoyable crossword, and thanks Stella for the blog.

    Eileen @11; Chambers seems to prefer IAMBUSES as it is used there to explain ‘iambic.’ (We’ll be getting into the stadia or stadiums next ;) ) I gather BUSHVELD can also be boschveld, but ‘bushvale’ was my first inadequate attempt (I’ll claim © for that one!)

    No doubt Eileen and others will be horrified to hear that I thought of ‘Cartesian wells’ (see Luckily, I knew SHOREHAM, although it doesn’t appear on the top Google hit: Maybe it’s not a town or parish??

  17. Andreas61 says:

    Thanks Araucaria and Stella, most enjoyable. Eileen @ 15, thanks for this, too! It’s on-topic for me because I had a discussion with an American colleague the other day about the plural of octopus and he rooted for “octopi”, which I called wrong. Can anybody confirm that it is acceptable across the pond? Octopodes can’t be right either, because then the singular would probably have to be something like octopod(e). Gastropodes e.g. are snails and slugs, I think. So octopuses it must be, but “iambuses” does not sound good, Chambers or no Chambers, and I think Araucaria would agree, hence his “?” after the feet… Again, thanks all for the crossword, the blog and the comments!

  18. Robi says:

    P.S. A picture of Bushvale grassland can be found here…….

  19. Robi says:

    Andreas @61; just to stoke the fire…….

    ‘Some authorities find that octopi is an objectionable hypercorrection, feeling that the form arose from the incorrect assumption that “octopus” is a Latin form. However, “octopus” is a Scientific Latin word, while the Latinized spelling of the Greek word is “octopous.” The word came into English via Neo-Latin rather than directly from Greek. Perhaps reflecting the amount of scientific literature that was written in Neo-Latin, the Latinate plural remains more common than the original Greek one: The British National Corpus has 29 instances of “octopuses”, 11 of “octopi”, and 4 of “octopodes”.’ (from

  20. Robi says:

    ……… or even Andreas61 @17……..

  21. Andy says:

    Eileen@15, yes, you are quite correct, my mistake.

  22. chas says:

    Thanks to Stella for the blog. I had been quite certain that THREAD was correct for 20 but had been quite unable to parse it :(

    I was held up for a long time on 15d until I realised that 13 could be IMAGINATIVE instead of IMAGINATION which I had initially put in. Now that I look again at the clue I still think that IMAGINATION is a valid answer.

    My lack of maritime knowledge let me down on 22 because I could remember gybe (which is almost what is wanted) but no other relevant word.

  23. tupu says:

    Octopus is a cat with only one life left. There is only one of them and its chances of survival for any length of time are clearly very slim, so the question of its plural (let alone its singular) is not really a worry. Indeed it may be dead – octogon for short – by the time this hits the blog.

  24. Eileen says:

    Bless you, tupu, for so amusingly bringing us back to earth and apologies to all for my part in the digression [I didn't start it!] – but you all know me when I get the bit between my pedantic teeth! [Andreas @17 'octopodes' IS right! ;-) !]

  25. Eileen says:

    PS Thanks, Robi, for the Cartesian Wells – loved it! I feel now that I can share that I looked up SHIREHAM for 1dn. :-(

  26. sidey says:

    Shoreham was a Parliamentary Constituency in Sussex, the town is Shoreham-by-Sea.

  27. tupu says:

    My son tells me that the reverse of the key dictum is known as putting Descartes before the …!

  28. Mr DNA says:

    Robi @16

    Shoreham parish does, in fact, appear on the top Google hit you linked, it’s just disguised there as ‘New Shoreham’.

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